NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s NorCal/SoCal player of the week honorees are Darnez Slater (left) from Roosevelt of Eastvale and Ella Skrzynairz from Vista del Lago of Folsom. Photos: @toddmalecki / & Doug Guler / Gold Country Media.

We still have a couple of weeks left before these selections get a lot more complicated because we don’t want to honor a player with a Tuesday playoff game in which their season may be ending. There were no state record book totals this week but we found some real gems in both Southern and Northern California. The NorCal stops are in Novato (Marin County) and Folsom (Sacramento County). In Southern California, we visit Eastvale (Riverside County) and Spring Valley (San Diego County).

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Notes: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate anyone, email

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Girls Basketball Player of the Week

Ella Skrzyniarz (Vista del Lago, Folsom) Soph.

Around 25 miles east of the state capitol just north of Highway 50 and around two miles south of Folsom Lake is where we land in search of the Northern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week, and while we can’t remember if there is a “view of the lake” from Vista del Lago High opponents of the Eagles have been viewing the scoring of Skrzyniarz this season that has sparked the team to 18-5 overall and 7-0 in the Capital Athletic League entering this week.

Last week was a perfect example. In a 59-55 non-league victory over Del Oro of Loomis to start the week, Ella was stellar with 25 points, six rebounds and four steals. In another non-league 47-40 win over perennially-tough Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills that avenged an early season two-point loss, Skrzyniarz had 29 points, five steals and three rebounds, plus she was 15-of-16 from the free-throw line. And finally, in the third win of the week, the 5-foot-8 combo guard went for a double-double 22 points and 11 rebounds with four steals and two assists in a 68-42 league win over Sacramento.

So far this season Skrzyniarz is averaging 20.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 1.9 assists per game. She’s had five double-doubles and is shooting 53 percent from the field and 81 percent from the charity stripe.

Nick Cubley is known as an elite shooter, but the San Marin standout also can rise up and dunk it if needed. Photo: Courtesy San Marin basketball.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Boys Basketball Player of the Week

Nick Cubley (San Marin, Novato) Jr.

The Redwood Empire portion of the CIF North Coast Section and the City of Novato is where we land and it’s at San Marin where we find our Northern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week.

San Marin has had some good basketball teams in the past but even in the distant past and most recently it’s been known more for baseball and softball. Of course, it’s also always been a football school and is currently a back-to-back CIF Bowl Game state champion.

Cubley would certainly like to change that before the 6-foot-3 junior wing graduates next year, and if he continues like his most recent performance, who knows?

Last week, on the anniversary of the passing of Kobe Bryant, and in a 72-59 win over crosstown arch rival Novato that got the Mustangs to 13-11 overall, 7-7 in Marin County Athletic League, and qualifies San Marin for the playoffs, Cubley was Kobe-like after dropping in school record-tying 45 points.

According to local sources, Nick has been the impetus for helping get San Marin back into the playoffs after a 5-19 season last year where the Mustangs were 2-13 in league. He’s also playing with a special deep passion this season after suffering the passing of his cousin and his best friend just weeks apart. He wears No. 22 to honor his cousin and he’s averaging around 22 points per game.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Boys Basketball Player of the Week

Darnez Slater (Roosevelt, Eastvale) Jr.

We head to the Inland Empire and land less than a mile west of the I-15 and north of Norco in Eastvale at a school named after the First Lady and wife of President Franklin Roosevelt to honor our Southern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week.

Last week, in a 97-40 win over Santiago of Corona, Slater showed why he was named to the Class of 2024 Hot 100 list of Cal-Hi Sports managing editor Ronnie Flores after dropping in a school record 52 points.

So far this season for the 21-5 Mustangs, who are 7-1 in Big VIII League play with a lone 76-52 home loss to Cal-Hi Sports No. 1 Centennial of Corona, Slater is averaging 20.4 points per game.

By the time Darnez gets to see his honor it’s likely going to be after the Mustangs square off with Centennial a second time on the road on Tuesday night. No one will expect Roosevelt or Slater to pull off an upset but we’ll see what he does to follow up his award.

Jennifer Moreno from Mt. Miguel of Spring Valley scored her 1,000th career point last season as a junior. Photo: Mt. Miguel Girls Basketball.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Girls Basketball Player of the Week

Jennifer Moreno
(Mount Miguel, Spring Valley) Sr.

The East County portion of the CIF San Diego Section is our destination for this week’s SoCal girls winner. Spring Valley also is around 10 miles east of San Diego on the Highway 94 and then we make a right turn on Highway 125 at Lemon Grove and go about a mile south and just west of the freeway and land in Spring Valley at Mount Miguel.

Mount Miguel head coach Robbie Sandoval, who came into the season with 523 career coaching wins and is No. 3 all-time for wins among head coaches in the San Diego Section, sends in nominations routinely for his girls. More often than not they make the weekly Stat Stars but not the grand prize.

This week, however, he has a winner. Moreno, who has been on the Cal-Hi Sports radar screen as a four-year starter for Sandoval and his Matadors, and has gotten all-state honors previously, but never gotten this kind of individual honor, has been selected as the Southern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week.

Last week was indicative of what Moreno has been doing her entire high school career. Jennifer wasn’t team high in an 80-37 win over crosstown Monte Vista, but she had 25 points (three three-pointers) six rebounds, four assists and five steals. Sophomore Helen Rosales led the way with 29 points. In the second game of the week, a 74-38 victory on the road at Grossmont of El Cajon, Moreno led the way with a triple-double 21 points (five three-pointers), 10 rebounds and 10 assists with five steals. In the third game of the week, a solid 68-54 win over a perennially tough Mission Hills of San Marcos, Jennifer had a game-high 21 points with six rebounds, six steals and three assists.

So far this season, the 5-foot-6 point guard is averaging 19.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 3.4 steals per game. For her career, Moreno has 1,646 points, she’s made 243 three-pointers and she has 336 rebounds, 298 steals and 292 assists.

Moreno, a 3.8 GPA student-athlete who is getting some college interest from San Diego State and University of North Carolina Greensboro, was the starting point guard on the 18U Mexican National team this past summer in Argentina.

“Jennifer has been a four year starter for the Lady Matadors and is probably the smartest and most skilled basketball player I have ever had at Mount Miguel,” Sandoval said in his nomination. “Her scoring ability and shot making is some of the best I have seen as a high school coach. Jennifer’s ability also as a passer will make her a tough player to guard at the next level.”

Now that Sandoval has succeeded in getting his star some statewide attention, let see if it translates into some additional college interest.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend

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